Top Health Care Stocks
Health care stocks have turned mixed heading into Thursday's close, including a more than 0.1% gain in late trade for the NYSE Health Care Index. Also today, shares of health care companies in the S&P 500 were down nearly 0.2% as a group while the Nasdaq Biotechnology index fell nearly 0.4% lower today.
Among health care stocks moving on news:
(+) Novartis ( NVS ) was narrowly higher in late Thursday trading, falling back from a nearly 1% gain to a session high of $85.68 a share that followed the medical device and pharmaceuticals giant saying its Ultibro Breezhaler met its primary endpoint during clinical testing in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Fifty seven of 62 patients who began the trial completed the two-week trial evaluating the effect of once-daily treatment with Breezhalers on lung function, with patients in the active arm demonstrating reduced lung hyperinflation and improved cardiac function compared with the placebo arm. The device also was well tolerated with a safety profile comparable with a placebo, the company said.
In other sector news:
(+) Sangamo Therapeutics ( SGMO ) was surging Thursday, climbing to its best price since October 2000 at $27.30 a share, after the company said it was collaborating with with Gilead Sciences ( GILD ) on Sangamo's zinc finger nuclease technology platform for the development of ex vivo cell-therapies in oncology and triggering an upfront $150 million payment. Sangamo also is eligible for up to $3.01 billion in future payments, aggregated across 10 or more products using its technology.
(+) Clovis Oncology ( CLVS ) advanced as much as 9% on Thursday after the specialty drugmaker said a European Union advisory panel will likely recommend its rucaparib drug candidate as a treatment for ovarian cancer and prompting at least one analyst upgrade. A final vote by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency is scheduled at its March 19-22 meetings. Following the company's announcement, analysts a RBC Capital Markets raised their investment call for Clovis shares to Outperform from Sector Perform although the ratings shop also trimmed its price target for the stock by $8 to $72 a share.
(-) Brookdale Senior Living ( BKD ) declined over 21% on Thursday to a session low of $6.99 a share after saying it has concluded a strategic review and also rejecting a conditional indication of interest to acquire the chain of senior living communities for $9.00 per share in cash. The bid could pay up to to $11.00 per share in cash conditioned on certain criteria the Brookdale board said it could unlikely satisfy, although the panel also said it "remains committed to continuously evaluating all opportunities to enhance shareholder value." Separately, the company also reported GAAP Q4 net income of $0.08 per share, reversing a net loss of $1.45 per share during the same quarter last year. Revenue fell to $1.17 billion from $1.21 billion last year but still beating $1.15 billion Street view.